ehrayr.com © 2008

I Have Something To Say, 1993

Market Street, San Francisco

Hrayr Eulmessekian
Artist Statement

On Deep Background  

(the official cover-up)


What becomes of the story when the authority, confiding only on basis of deep background, and its reporter, are one and the same, and in a search for meaning are conspiring to cover up the official narrative.

Partly incited by a second reading of Roland Barthes’ ‘Camera Lucida’, partly annoyance from  the “The” in Ken Burns’ “The Civil War’, what started as a formal exploration of the pictorial backgrounds of old family photographs, evolved into a series of work under the general heading of ‘On Deep Background’.  Since then I’ve been exploring and exposing the concept of background, along with its many meanings, to a variety of subjects and media, where time recedes in space instead of deploying at length, where films exist on the edge of movement and stillness, between noise and silence, relocating its viewer from recollecting to witnessing. 

The term, “on deep background”, borrowed from journalistic practices, refers to an understanding, agreement, condition, between an official entity and a reporter, that the divulged information cannot only not be attributed to its source, it cannot even be directly paraphrased.

Post disciplinary and often ephemeral, the media is as varied as film, video, silkscreen, photography, painting, installation to interrogate the nature of representation, subjectivity, language, translation, identity and history as constructs.